The Dow Chemical Co. and Townsend Kokam LLC announced on August 5 that their proposed joint venture, Dow Kokam, has been awarded a $161 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a new generation of high-power battery technology to supply the automotive industry.Townsend Ventures, LLC is the sustainable energy-focused division of Townsend Capital, LLC, a privately held investment firm.
The new company will build a new 800,000 square foot facility in Midland, Mich. to produce affordable advanced superior lithium polymer battery (SLPB) technology for the hybrid and electric vehicle markets. Construction is expected to begin by late October 2009 and battery production is slated to begin in early 2011. The facility will employ up to 800 people.
DOE's program is part of the U.S. goal of putting one million new plug-in hybrid vehicles in service by 2015. The battery industry is expected to be valued at $60 billion and create thousands of new jobs in the United States.
"I applaud President Obama and the DOE for helping ensure the next generation of advanced battery technology is developed and built right here in America," said Andrew N. Liveris, Dow CEO. "This is the type of comprehensive, collaborative approach that is needed to give the U.S. a sustained leadership position in this leading-edge industry. Dow is excited to begin using our expertise in chemistry to help overcome the technical challenges of developing and commercializing the next generation of advanced automotive batteries."
When complete, the Dow Kokam joint venture's Midland facility is expected to produce enough batteries to supply 60,000 hybrid or electric vehicles per year.
Earlier this year, Michigan announced the Dow and Townsend Kokam advanced battery initiative would be one of four companies to receive tax incentives to locate battery production facilities in the state.